Indiana Basketball – Dolson choosing self-preservation over what’s best for program could save Archie Miller

No IU fan is giving Archie Miller two thumbs up for his first four years, but he could get a fifth because it’s prudent for his boss to wait a year to fire him.

Indiana Basketball fans need to steel themselves for the possibility that after four years of abject mediocrity, Archie Miller may just return for a fifth year.

Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson has a hell of a decision on his hands.  Does he do what’s best for Indiana Basketball by replacing Archie Miller, or make the shrewd and prudent middle management play to allow Miller to return for a fifth season?

For fans, this is an easy call.  Miller goes.  Adios.  He never fit, and had no interest in adjusting to become a fit.  But for Dolson, so early in his tenure as the department head for his alma mater’s athletic department, it’s a more nuanced choice.

While Dolson is the AD, hiring a basketball coach at IU is a decision made by the university as a hulking bureaucratic machine.  The days of an individual making this call in a vacuum are over.  Donors, trustees, student-athletes, and the university president work together to make certain  all voices are heard and respected.  That process has yielded Kelvin Sampson, Tom Crean, and Archie Miller.  IU’s resolve in hearing from a wide pallet of voices is mysterious as results have this Groundhog Day cycle of misery.

IU president Michael McRobbie, Dolson’s boss, is on his way out the door, and a replacement has not been named.  Without the approval of the new president, or even having an inkling who it will be, writing the buyout check of $10.5M exposes Dolson to immediate liability.

Should mediocre results follow another change and show the buyout expense to have been wasted, Dolson will have fired one of the few bullets he will be allowed during his tenure.

So why not wait a year to get the new president on board for a regime change?  It’s a long shot that Miller will suddenly reverse a four-year run of non-winning Big 10 seasons, but whether IU rebounds or not Dolson will appear to be a reasonable and financially cautious steward of his department.

There is a potential downside to Dolson outsmarting himself in this process.  If the wrong people are disenfranchised by inaction, donations will dry up and season ticket cancellations might serve as a referendum on Miller’s retention.  If Indiana slogs through another wobbly season, the fans who do show up could become surly and disruptive.  That would be a nightmare for the players, coaches, and Dolson, who will be assessed as complicit in another lost season of Indiana Basketball.

During that lost year, coaches will recruit against Miller by telling recruits he is a short-timer – almost certain to be gassed at the end of the 2021-2022 season.  Momentum would stall, making the job less attractive and the latest rebuild even more difficult.

Sometimes management requires checkers level plotting, and other times are for those who enjoy three-dimensional chess.  Dolson is capable of both, but needs to decide which is appropriate in dealing with Miller’s firing or retention

These are interesting times in Bloomington for Dolson, who just nine months into his reign is faced with the kind of decision his predecessor never faced.  Fred Glass moved through a basketball program coaching change that was a no-brainer.  Crean was not popular internally, alienated in-state high school coaches and recruits, and needed to go.  His decision was relatively easy, and was then confirmed when Crean fled Bloomington rather than show up for the meeting where he would have heard about his demise.

Whether Dolson pulls the plug on Miller, he will be judged by the new president, old president, board of trustees, donors, student-athletes and their families, and fans for the results of how this plays out and concludes.

The odds of Miller surviving despite fan outrage are roughly the same as a Hoosiers free throw. It could go either way.

32 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball – Dolson choosing self-preservation over what’s best for program could save Archie Miller

  1. Bear

    Once again, Kent, you never cease to amaze me. Here you are, a media “star”, who values himself and his judgement far beyond what it is really worth. Let’s face it Kent, your attempt to install Dan Dakich as the next IU coach has failed; and it will always fail due to others who have more sense.

    Your call to can Miller (and the call of other so-called IU fans) is premature at best. If Dolson’s decision is to stick with Miller another year, I support it. If it happens, another ho-hum year (if it happens) is no big deal. Who knows, they might surprise the Hell out of us; all of the pressure is off. Regardless of what happens, IU will remain an important basketball program, and Dolson will have a year+ to find a good fit for IU.

    Kent, trash the emotion, and start to think for a change.

    1. Btown89grad

      I notice that you tend to criticize Kent Sterling after every article he writes on IU basketball. Do you have a personal grudge against him? Seems too predictable to be real commentary.

    2. Tim

      Is “Bear” part of Archie Miller’s family? Imagine being in a profession where you make over $3M a year and fans “argue” on your behalf after you do absolutely nothing for 4 years. You can’t make the tournament? You can’t go over .500 in the league even once? No worries! Some fans will still defend you! File this under “Fan Stockholm syndrome”. If we’re not going to have any standards then we can save a whole lotta money and just have a volunteer coach.

      1. Chris

        I agree with you. Don’t buy out the contract but don’t let him coach the team. Just run the program next year with the Assistant coaches and whoever else we might get on a volunteer basis.. I’m not being serious but you could put Bob Knight out there chanting “DEFENSE” and it couldn’t be much worse than this. IU basketball has its own virus and I believe a vaccine is a long way from development.

    3. Keith

      Your and idiot! He needs to go and go now! I will watch and support every minute of every IU team I am able but they truth is we are a laughing stock in basketball and that is not ok! Archie goes! No other decision will get me to give and spend my money!

    4. Scott

      Hey Bear, you’re comment on this article tells me A) you have some sort of grudge against Kent. B) You are one of those Dakich haters who can’t stand to hear blunt honesty about the IU program. ( By the way I’ve not heard Kent mention Dan’s name at all) C) You’re in denial about the program and the dire situation IU is in going forward and all the repercussions that go into the decision made by Doltson. And for what I’m reading on here you are chronic Kent hater. Sometimes staying quiet makes you smarter.

  2. Big D

    Mr. Sterling as an IU alum, it is a sad day to watch our once proud program continue this death spiral. Long are the days of hustling and discipline. Archie must go and if Dolson keeps this continuance any longer, he must go as well. 0-9 against Purdue…Enough said!

  3. Matt Moore

    I think Archie gets another year. I don’t think he has earned another year, but I think that Covid 19 considered, Dolson lets him use his mulligan.

    From what I have seen the last four years from Coach Miller, I believe a change is in order. The regression, instead of progression in the program’s trajectory is unmistakable. We have no forward momentum, and Coach Miller has shown zero ability to create positive momentum at Indiana. What evidence is there that next year will be any better?

    I say, it’s time to move on. But unless Indiana can coax Brad Stevens away from Boston, I have no idea who the right candidate would be. There is not clear cut choice. I can only imagine that Scott Dolson is in a similar predicament. Thus, Archie gets another go ‘round.

    There are guys I think could turn Indiana around quickly, but so don’t think they are people Indiana would hire: Pitino, Beiline (because of age), Bruce Pearl, etc.

    1. HoosierFan1976

      There are great coaches who have a history of turning around fading programs. Coach Beiline, Pitino, and others. Get a proven winner. Mediocre basketball is not acceptable at IU. Start a go fund me account for Archie’s buyout. I’m willing to contribute to saying goodbye to mediocrity.

  4. Don Hefner

    Steve Alford should be the next I I coach. He played on the 87 championship team, an Olympic gold medal team, some NBA participation and who could recruit better from Indiana. He could probably teach players to shoot 3’s which we lack at present. I.U. needs someone that’s been there and done that . I’m 78 and I’ve watched the good and the bad and I’m tired of the bad and the excuses.

  5. Jeff H

    I just don’t see how Miller can stay. His tenure started with Indiana State going wild on 3’s and IUs offense stalling out. It ended with Rutgers getting wide open 3s and the pack line defense not working and IUs offense not showing up. Archie is a hard headed individual that doesn’t make adjustments. If he does come back, he will get booed in every home game at Assembly Hall. His brothers broke rules at Arizona and paid players. Archie is just a thief at this point. Dolson needs to do what’s right and move on. Glass took the easy way out and retired (ran away) from the problem. Typical attorney thing to do. Make a contract that is so one sided to Archie and then not address it and retire. Fred Glass got lucky with IU football because Wilson hired Tom Allen as Defensive Coordinator.

  6. Keith Starling

    I believe Miller should be given at least one more year for several reasons . First , the buy out and then costs to hire a new coach are too high . Next year this cost is greatly reduced. Add this to the fact Miller in all fairness should be allowed to return. Miller has been here for four years but this first year should not count as a coach is playing with the last coaches team. Miller has not been here long enough to even field a team of all players he has recruited . Next year we will be able to make a fair assessment of Miller as the team will be all his recruits. Mille has had some success in recruiting in state players and particularity Mr Basketballs. I say one more year To be fair . This constant turnover of coaches and having to rebuild every few years serves no one any good and needs to stop.

    1. Robert Gallegos

      I second Keith’s comment. There has also not been given enough weight of the pandemic repercussions on the season. A few. “blueblood’s” are either on the bubble or will miss the Tournament i.e. Duke and Kentucky, etc. Many programs have gone a lot longer without tangible results. 3-4 years is just not long enough to turn a program around. Support and encouragement go much further than demands for immediate expected results. Most importantly, the best coaches grow as the program grows. It’s time for fans to grow, too. And, to grow up.

  7. Jimmy

    I can’t see ANY, self respecting IU fan be okay with Miller coaching another year. His teams time and time again show a lack of leadership and direction and Miller seems to stand on the sidelines clueless learning nothing from the same teams he plays multiple times a year! This is IU basketball!!! It’s like Texas and Football. This program needs resuscitated and brought back to where it belongs and waiting another year makes no sense.

  8. Archiesgottago

    Fine keep Archie and see what happens in Assembly Hall when he loses to some bad team, see what happens when 8000 drunk IU students start booing and throwing things on the court, frankly I can’t wait! I’ll b there in my seats, at least it will be entertaining. Archie’s a loser just like his brother.

  9. Archiesgottago

    Picture this the entire student body chanting “Fire Archie” or “sit down Archie” or “you’re a loser” or “fire Dolson” oh yea she gonna b fun next year

  10. T.J. Leonard

    Quite the conundrum indeed for Mr. Dolson. I have gone back and forth myself, even before this season. But, if forced to make the decision today, it would be…Farewell, Arch!

  11. Troy P

    Yes fire Archie, but am sick of IU fans calling for Alford and Stevens to be the coach. If you want a once proud program to remain irrelevant, then hire based on nostalgia. Do the right thing and hire a winning coach. Stop the fantasy, nostalgia crap or you’ll continue to have a program that sucks with no championships. Haven’t had one of those in 34 years. Let that one sink in a bit. We’re no longer relevant and won’t be if we keep calling for feel good coaches. Heaven help us. We’re embarrassing.

  12. Terry Johnson

    Keeping Miller would only continue to bury the program . He has proven he is not the guy ! Rumors flying around B-town that Lander has told Archie he is going to transfer . If you notice he was benched for the whole game against Rutgers , If Miller stays the transfers will continue and we have already seen Miller’s unable to recruit or develop players . With the program being a hot mess who would want to coach or play here ? Time to make a move maybe a good Indiana guy as a coach could save some of the players ? Miller has already said he is not going to wait around during the off season to see if he is coming back ! He has already checked out ! A costly mistake . And that is on Fred ! Dolson has to move quickly . Dragging his feet will not fix the problem . If you think this year is bad next year with Miller will be your worst nightmare ! ! ! Hire a Indiana guy and move on ! ! ! GO HOOSIERS! ! !

  13. Bear

    I here a lot of emotional vitriol from so-called IU supporters against Miller, but no solutions. After you kick this guy out, what are you going to do? Well, first of all, you are going to pay Coach Miller $10.5M in “rocking chair” money. Second, Dolson will scour the coaching population and find the most excellent candidate who is just sitting out there waiting for us to call and make an offer. How about $30M for the next 3 years with a option for 7 more years at $12M a year? Fat Chance Getting Something like this Through!!!!

    All I hear is a lot of you spouting emotion with very little logic. I hear a lot about Miller, but very little about IU players who after 12 years of organized basketball can only make about 60% of their foul shots. Have any of you considered how many more games IU would have won if they made 75% of their foul shots?

    You all need the think more before you flap your jaws.

  14. Terry Johnson

    Shooting is a coaching issue . Free throws or field goals. For a guy who was supposed to be a great shooter in college you would think the coach could fix that along with defense and game focus . As well as basketballl fundamentals . These are his players he recruited them he should have known they cannot shoot . How does that happen ? Pretty hard to recruit a team of players who cannot shoot but Miller has done it . If your going to suggest coaches like Pearl and Pitnino you need to look at their history and how they win .

  15. Betty Lou Pratt

    For the past years, IU has needled a good TALL center. It’s obvious! Years ago IU players MADE free throws! Three point players are necessary to win. I have been a basketball fan for 70 years. Simple deductions! Getting tired of waiting! Can’t be silent any longer.

  16. Jon A Duchemin

    This is on you Mr. Dolson and if I were you think very hard on your decision! Do you really believe keeping Archie will turn this problem around or escalate a very dangerous atmosphere that could bring your job to a quick ending? Mr. Glass did not take the time to interview all the coaches available, but decided to pen Archie with a ridiculous contract that basically ended his job as A.D.! Decision time is now and while Indy is hosting the “BIG ” tournament it’s time to start those interviews! Good luck!

  17. Rick Reed

    Miller must go now. Four years has been a failed experiment. Get out the checkbook and make it happen. This leadership is a laughingstock where it once was an elite program. I’d rather take a chance on Rick Patino than tune another year out because of embarrassment it now shows on this hallowed Assembly Hall arena. Disgusting is an understatement!. Miller prances around like someone who is a king or something. He has done nothing for this program. Just leave now!

  18. Richard reed

    Miller must go now. Four years has been a failed experiment. Get out the checkbook and make it happen. This leadership is a laughingstock where it once was an elite program. I’d rather take a chance on Rick Patino than tune another year out because of embarrassment it now shows on this hallowed Assembly Hall arena. Disgusting is an understatement!. Miller prances around like someone who is a king or something. He has done nothing for this program. Just leave now!

  19. Ioncasino

    Ion Casino

    Ion casino is a reliable and best online casino site from 2010
    which has offered millions of participants in Asia. Ion casino
    or also called Ionclub is the top ranking option site because this provides the best experience for online gambling players in Dalam negri.
    With an official license to function, this provider ensures that players make bets without chance, credibility and may be depended on.


    Watch the Best Movie regarding All Time
    What film do you want in order to watch today?
    Sniper films may be required upon your list. This is usually the
    most fun shooting battle, where every sniper actions is always interesting in order to watch.

  21. JudiSakura188

    impatient in playing or maddening to register an account upon an online slot site?
    You have found the right place. Sakura188 is an online
    slot listing site that can be the solution for your search.
    We encourage registration / account launch online 24
    hours in the same way as an easy and quick process in just 2 minutes.
    You can visit the registration page upon the Sakura188 site or question the CS in feat to incite create an account.
    We guarantee there is no complicated process here, after you register you can hastily play.

    Online slot site like the most conclusive games

    Sakura188 is the most unadulterated online slot site in Indonesia today.
    We have at least more than 5000 slot games that you can play.
    all game clear on our site has a minimum bet that varies but is nevertheless affordable.
    You just have to pick what nice of slot game you when to play.
    Slots in the same way as 5 – 7 reels, slot games bearing in mind forward looking
    and perpetual themes and fish shooting slots are here.
    Or attain you like to function slots next difficult jackpots?

    we as a consequence present these games.

    The Most Trusted Slot Bookie In Sakura188

    Besides having the most unconditional slot games,
    at Sakura188 you will be spoiled by playing at trusted slot dealers
    who action like us. The bookies upon our site are not feign slot dealers past extra sites.

    all providers here have international usual licenses as online game providers.
    Here are the trusted slot bookies at Sakura188.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *